top of page

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

One of the most important skills in a child’s life is learning how to perform activities of daily living (ADL’s) independently. A child’s ability to learn tasks such as showering, dressing, brushing teeth and grooming, can build a sense of independence during a child’s early years. This also simultaneously helps the child gain confidence. A child’s ability to perform ADL’s can be impacted by their fine or gross motor skills as well as their sensory processing skills. Occupational therapy can help a child at any skill level to break down the task or modify a task so it becomes attainable for a child to perform ADLs independently. Building independence in ADLs can greatly impact a child’s confidence and self-esteem that builds a desire to try new or hard tasks.

Below are helpful strategies to improve a child’s performance in ADL’s


Visuals are a great tool to help a child perform ADL’s! Taking pictures of the items used to shower and creating a visual sequence can help them become familiar with the steps without having to ideate which step is next.


Together with your child come up with all the steps it takes to complete an activity with a checkbox next to each step. Each time a child completes a step they can check it off the list and look at what is next.

Adaptations/ Modifications

Some accommodations that are helpful for a child can be:

  • Two different colored shoe laces to help a child differentiate the steps to tying shoes.

  • Tear a sticker in half and place one half in the left shoe and other half in the right shoe for them to determine which shoe goes on the correct foot.

  • Adaptable hair ties can help simplify hair-tying by minimizing fine motor coordination.

  • Zipper pulls to assist with pulling up a zipper on pants or a jacket

  • Mirror inside the shower for them to see if all the soap is rinsed out of their hair

  • Labels on drawers so they know where items need to be put away after laundry and where to find them when getting dressed

  • Adaptive socks for those with decreased fine motor strength


If you have further questions about your child's current skills or curious how occupational therapy can help your child gain confidence and independence, book a consultation with me by emailing or calling 740-218-4949

21 views0 comments


bottom of page